Redmen happy to ?win ugly
By DAVE MORRISON
Rugby union writer
THE Grafton Jacaranda Hotel Redmen scored four unanswered tries to defeat a tough Casino Bulls on Saturday, the result securing them a share of second spot on the competition table with their vanquished rivals.
The 20-6 result was a reasonably fair reflection of a typically hard and grafting game between the traditional rivals, a fitting display in front of a large and boisterous home crowd back in Grafton for a Club Reunion weekend.
It was also one that further established the Redmen's so far unheralded credentials as genuine contenders in this year's Far North Coast Rugby competition.
Once more, poor goal kicking kept Grafton's rivals in the game for longer than they could reasonably expect, as the Redmen looked unquestionably the better side across the paddock from the kick off.
It was not a pretty game, but as Redmen coach Gary Powell remarked, 'sometimes you have to win ugly', and he was certainly more than happy to convincingly defeat the one time competition leaders.
The fact that Grafton scored twice from their signature rolling mauls, both awarded to inspirational number eight Robbie Brown, was not all that surprising, but as Powell was very aware, to do so against such a tough, competitive pack as Casino was a tremendous effort.
Grafton scored first in the 10th minute with Brown finishing off at the back of a rumbling, mauling effort.
But two penalties to Casino fullback Tory Gilmour midway through the half put the visitors in front 6-5.
The match was effectively won in the 10 minutes before half- time.
Grafton dominated and applied the pressure, and the standout performer on the day, Redmen five-eighth Jon Chevalley, dictated proceedings, setting up two tries with great short passes, first to hooker Scott Forwell and then to centre Scott Lloyd to set up a 15-6 halftime lead.
The second half developed into a real grinding battle with possession at the breakdown fought with intensity and the front-on defence of both sides unrelenting.
Open play was at a premium, however, the intensity of the battle kept the crowd enthralled with Grafton looking by far the dominant side but unable to put a tenacious Casino away.
Midway through the half, Brown scored again from a maul to seal the result and Casino, despite their best efforts, never looked like threatening the Grafton line.
Chevalley was again superb, his defence, cleaning up in cover and contesting possession at the breakdown complementing his dominating attacking display.
Lock Mark Robinson yet again was an imposing figure and was in charge in the lineout, while prop Dan Hayne carried an injury, but took control in the battle between the two best front rows in the competition.
Centre Scott Lloyd also stood out, his defence a feature and was reworded with a crucial try just before half time.